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Top Tips To Develop Soft Skills

Top tips to develop soft skills

What are ‘soft’ skills within in-house legal?

‘Soft’ skills is a term used to refer to all the skills an in-house lawyer needs that are not specifically related to their legal or technical abilities. Whilst the name may convey they are less important or easier, that is certainly not the case. 

Our top four most important soft skills for in-house lawyers are:

  1. Emotional intelligence

  2. Leadership

  3. Strong Communication

  4. Business Acumen

How do I improve my emotional intelligence?

  1. Remain self-aware of your actions and their consequences. 
  2. Be clear with what you expect of others and understand what they expect of you. 
  3. Get to know your colleagues and make sure you listen to your team.
  4. Learn to communicate difficult topics in a way that is clear and compassionate.

How do I become a good legal leader?

  1.  Start with yourself: assess your weaknesses and target those.
  2. Work on your own physical and mental wellbeing.
  3. Conduct regular 360 degree reviews (peer, mentor, reports)
  4. Be visible and look for opportunities such as secondments and strategic projects.
  5. Supplement internal training with with external courses.
  6. Take on opportunities to mentor others.
  7. Don’t be afraid to deal with conflict.

How do I work on my communication?

  1. Review and assess your effectiveness so you can understand how others perceive you
  2. Take feedback and implement change 
  3. Engage in active listening 
  4. Be concise and clear; although sometimes we wish to soften blows and not hurt others’ egos; the best way is usually the simplest.
  5. Be prepared; if needed, consider and plan difficult conversations in advance.
  6. Be aware of what your body language is communicating.
  7. Adapt your communication style to the situation.

How do I develop my business acumen?

  1. Find a mentor (This maybe a senior stakeholder in the business or from an external organisation)
  2. Develop a detailed understanding of your company by working in / rotating across different business functions 
  3. Partake in Cross functioning training / industry events will also help you develop a deep understanding of your sector and customers.
  4. Combine your technical and commercial knowledge, allowing you  to analyse key commercial matters enabling you to give commercial, solutions orientated advice to the business.

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